Mesquite Santa Cop volunteers, officers prepare toys for delivery

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Saturday morning is delivery day for the Mesquite Santa Cop program.

The Mesquite Santa Cop workshop was buzzing Friday night with volunteers and officers who were getting everything prepared for the deliveries. Nearly 1,000 children will be getting the special gifts. The program has been going on for 36 years, but this year is their biggest year yet.

Volunteers had their lists and were checking them twice as they filled bags of toys for children in the community.

“It’s just the idea of knowing they’re going to wake up happy on Christmas because there’s going to be things under the tree,” said volunteer Felecian George.

Hundreds of kids are chosen based on need every year. Their names are submitted by police officers and teachers at Mesquite ISD.

“We tell all of our officers if they walk into a house between now and Christmas Day and you call us and say they don’t have any gifts, we’ll come out and supply gifts for them,” said Mesquite Police Sgt. Mark Bradford.

Mesquite officers collected money through several fundraisers and toy drives since September for more than 9,000 toys. Each child will get a bag full of toys.

The program is having an impact not only on the kids and their families but also on volunteers like Vicki Stewart. She has been giving her time to the Santa Cop program for 24 years.

Stewart reads through each one of the hundreds of applications organizers get each year to make sure everyone gets something on their wish list.

“This year's been really hard for me. I just lost a friend to cancer. And so all the application’s talking about cancer is really hard for me this year,” she said. “There’s a dad that has cancer, and he’s expecting this will be his last Christmas. He wants to make something special for his kids, so they’re getting it.”

Stewart is making spirits bright this Christmas.

“Kids just should wake up Christmas morning with a smile and know that somebody cares,” she said.

The toys will be distributed to families on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.